Mazda MX-5 Superlight Concept: Stripped out 995kg Speedster Revealed in Depth

As part of the year-round celebrations for the two decades of the MX-5 / Miata roadster, Mazda has crafted this special Superlight concept for the Frankfurt Motor Show. Based on the latest facelift version of the MX-5, the zoomalicious Superlight is a two-seater speedster model with no windscreen that has been stripped down to the very basics in order to achieve a kerb weight of just under a tonne thus improving the vehicle's driving dynamics. It was developed at Mazda's European R+D centre in Oberursel, Germany.

"I've dreamed of building a Mazda MX-5 with this kind of radical form for a long time," says Peter Birtwhistle, Mazda Motor Europe's Chief Designer. "Now that weight reduction has become a dominant factor in automotive development, the time is ripe for it. We show how lightweight a car today can be."

Aside from the elimination of the windscreen that allows the driver and passenger to come in full contact with their immediate surroundings, Mazda's designers also removed the MX-5's retractable top and its frame.

The removal of the windscreen required the extension of the original aluminum bonnet into the cabin with a lightweight carbon fiber sheet that provides a "hood" for the dashboard frame while it also houses the single, filigree aluminium, wide-angle mirror.

The Superlight also gets a pair of special roll over bars fitted with LED brake lights which prevent wind turbulence around the heads of the passengers.

Inside, the driver and passenger of the Superlight concept are greeted by racing bucket seats made of ultra-lightweight carbon fibre and are upholstered with the same saddle colored leather as the armrests, the steering wheel, and the lightweight aluminium shift lever and hand brake.

The dashboard that contains the same instruments as the production MX-5 along with a starter button, is made of lightweight plastic reinforced with fibreglass. As you'd suspect, the interior has been stripped out of any unnecessary features such as the air condition and fan as well as sound insulation mats and rugs.

Underneath the sheetmetal, the Superlight retains the production MX-5's 126-horsepower 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine paired to a five-speed manual transmission. However, there's a Mazdaspeed cold-air intake made of polished and powder-coated aluminium and a Mazdaspeed exhaust system that allow the engine to deliver a sportier sound.

Mazda's engineers also fitted the show car with four-piston, fixedcalliper brake system with perforated discs that required an increase in track of 50 mm and a 30mm lower Bilstein B16 coil-over suspension plus Eibach stabilisers. The superlight rides on stock 205/45 R17 original-equipment tires and alloy wheels from the 2.0-litre version, that weight in at less than 8 kg.

Weighing in at just 995 kg or 2,194 pounds, the Superlight accelerates from zero to 100km/h (62mph) in 8,9 seconds consuming only 6.3 lt /100 km (37.3 mpg US) with CO2 emissions of 150g/km. That's compared to the stock MX-5 1.8's 1,080kg, 9,9 seconds, 9.5 lt/100km (33.6 mpg US) and 167g/km CO2.

The Japanese carmaker said that at least for the time being, there are no plans to built a production version of the Superlight, but as we've said, you never know with a company like Mazda...

Technical Specifications

  • Body Type : Roadster Monocoque
  • Seating capacity: 2
  • External Dimensions
    • Overall length: 4,020 mm
    • Overall width: 1,720 mm
    • Overall height (unloaded): 1,110 mm
    • Wheelbase: 2,330 mm
    • Track (front/rear): 1,540/1,545 mm
    • Ground clearance: 106 mm
  • Engine: MZR 1.8-litre petrol
  • Max. power: 126 PS (93 kW) at 6,500 rpm
  • Max. torque: 167 Nm at 4,500 rpm
  • Transmission: 5-speed manual
  • Front/rear suspension: Double wishbone/Multi-link
  • Damper (front/rear): Bilstein® monotube
  • Tyre size: 205/45 R17
  • Brake type (front/rear): Ventilated discs/Solid discs
  • Brake diameter (front/rear): 300/280 mm
  • Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 8,9 s
  • Fuel consumption (combined): 6,3 l/100km
  • CO2 emissions (combined): 150 g/km
  • Min. kerb weight (without driver): 995 kg